Cover image for Letters from the Pacific : a combat chaplain in World War II
Letters from the Pacific : a combat chaplain in World War II
Stroup, Russell Cartwright, 1905-1977.
Publication Information:
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
214 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D767 .S783 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Many soldiers remember their relationship with a combat chaplain -- some with fondness or gratitude -- but few have the opportunity to view that bond through the chaplain's eyes. In Letters from the Pacific, Russell Stroup offers readers the opportunity to see the effects of war from his unique perspective -- as a chaplain on the front lines of the South Pacific theater. For the three years Stroup served in the military, he continually wrote home to his family in Virginia. Composed under harrowing combat conditions, yet filled with humor and personality, these letters convey his remarkable search for meaning and purpose in the midst of world war.

Unlike most of the chaplains who served in the armed forces, Stroup undertook infantry training so that he might usefully accompany troops on the front lines. He then volunteered for first-wave assaults at Hollandia, Biak, and Sansapor in New Guinea, and Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines. Despite all the dangers he faced, Stroup always put the soldiers before himself, all the while justifying his decision to his family.

Edited, annotated, and introduced by Richard Cartwright Austin, Stroup's letters provide the most probing insight into a combat chaplain's role currently available. His absorbing correspondence will resonate in one's memory long after his last letter is read.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

While serving as chaplain to numerous combat units in New Guinea and the Philippines between 1942 and 1945, Stroup insisted on the dangerous practice of following units into the field. In the many letters he wrote home, he described incidents he witnessed while offering comfort to the troops and holding rites over burials. His thoughts are candid and his observations of the action unflinching and thoughtful. Stroup focuses more on his Protestant faith than on military history, though he grapples intelligently and honestly with the subject of war, accurately reflecting the tenor of the time. The editing, done by author Richard Austin (Stroup's nephew), shows great reverence for the writer. This is unusual, affecting, and insightful fare. Recommended for military and religious collections.DMel D. Lane, Sacramento, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.